31st October, 1997

A bitterly cold burst of wind made its way through fifteen year-old Kat Harvey's pullover as she stood on Friendship's only street. Kat shivered and she read the thermometer taped near the front door of the town's café, where she had just finished a cup of coffee. Jesus, it's 35 degrees! The small town in Maine was experiencing abnormally cold weather that day--although it was usually fifteen degrees warmer than the current temperature, Kat could feel the difference all the way down to the chill in her bones.

Kat associated the cold with 'cold spots', which she knew from her father were normally associated with ghosts and other paranormal activity, and vaguely remembered that she hadn't seen Casper all day. She pushed the thought to the back of her mind, and shrugged it off as simply strange weather.

Kat trudged down the main street back up the Whipstaff Manor, hardly registering all of the Halloween decorations that hung on people's houses. It's the same stuff every year… thought Kat. She finally reached the Art Nouveau gates to Whipstaff, pulled the wrought iron gates open, and walked up the gravel drive. Kat crossed her arms over her chest in a vain attempt to keep the cold out as she walked. The manor house didn't need any Halloween décor, but Kat noticed that Dr. Harvey had put up a few cobwebs on the front porch and a few fake gravestones in the yard. Halloween was the one day every year when the Harvey's got the most visitors--and not just children trick-or-treating. The local Paranormal Society usually dropped by wanting to take a look around, but Dr. Harvey always refused, claiming that as he and his daughter inhabited the house, they could naturally decide who was invited in--and who was unwelcome. The house had become a popular trick-or-treating destination in town since the Harvey's moved in, though some residents were still wary of the imposing cliff side structure.

Kat hurriedly went inside, glad to step into the warm house. She glanced at the big grandfather clock near the staircase, which read 8 pm. Knowing that the local children were going to arrive soon, Kat decided to go upstairs to change. Dr. Harvey was busy working on…something. Kat watched as her dad fiddled with electric wires. "Oh. Hi sweetie!" said Dr. Harvey. "I'm just, ah, working on the new security system for the house. I'll be damned if those "parapsychologists" come by this year…" Kat shook her head, smiled, then made her way up the staircase. As she entered the room, she saw her witch's costume, complete with broom and pointy hat, laid on the bed. She knew she had stuffed it in the back of the closet the night before. Kat had a feeling Casper had had a hand in retrieving the costume from the ravages of her mess of a closet. She suspected Casper was just being his usual helpful self--upon closer inspection, Kat saw that the dress' fabric had even been ironed, as she knew it must have been wrinkled from being wadded up. She sighed and began to change.

Just as Kat descended the staircase, she heard her father scream, "Sonuvabitch!". Kat knew her father had inadvertently done something wrong in setting up the system. "Hey, Dad! Need any help?" she called as she landed on the last step. Shaking his hands, Dr. Harvey replied smoothly, "No thanks, hon. I got it under control. You look great, by the way!" Kat nodded and walked into the kitchen to retrieve the candy for the trick-or-treaters. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang. "OWWW!" Kat heard her father say, along with a few high pitched screams from children. Kat figured the security system must be connected to the doorbell. "I'm coming, I'm coming!" Kat yelled as she walked to the front door. "After a scare like that, you guys must really want some candy, huh?" she asked. The three children, dressed as a pirate, a pumpkin, and SpongeBob SquarePants, nodded enthusiastically. Kat dropped a small handful of candy into each of their bags, the children thanked her, and they scampered off. Kat silently closed the door until her father said, "Just leave it open a crack so I can fix this thing,". "OK, Dad. Will do!" Kat responded in a false cheery manner. "What's the matter?" Dr. Harvey asked, obvious concern evident in his voice. "It's just…Casper's usually here to make an appearance."

"Oh, you're right!" Dr. Harvey exclaimed as though he just realized something that should have been apparent. Kat rolled her eyes. "I'll takeo ver candy duty for you for a while," Dr. Harvey said warmly. "Thanks, Dad," said Kat as she patted him on the shoulder. She grabbed her coat. "I think I'll go out for a spell," she said with a wink.

Kat walked down a deserted sidewalk, humming to herself. She felt lonely…but for him? A ghost? Kat walked down to the lakeshore and sat on a flat rock. The wind rustled the leaves nearby and the wind whipped her hair. Suddenly, she felt a cold hand on her cheek and turned around. Her face broke into a smile. "Mind if I join you?" Casper asked. Kat patted the spare space between the rock and her leg and he plopped down beside her immediately. "You know," he began quietly. "I was once a ghost for Halloween…back in 1902, I think,". Kat grinned. "I must have been only nine, but it's one of the few things I can remember," he continued. He sat silently, looking out onto the sea. "Do you think trick-or-treating would still work for you?" Kat asked in an mocking tone. Casper grinned as they began walking in the direction of the street. "Well…I've always sort of wanted to try it out again. That'd be a real treat."